Kelly

"I’m Kelly. I work full time, have two children aged 8 & 6 and I’ve been with my other half for almost 13 years (he won’t put a ring on it but I’m working on it ;)). We have a hectic lifestyle like many other families out there, I do the school run every day before/after work and ferry kids off to their various sports and classes (weekends are no different as my other half plays cricket, golf and bowls). I have very little ‘me’ time.

Since having my kids I have had serious body hang-ups. Things do not go back to where they were and I still have a mum tum almost 7 years after giving birth to my youngest. I was a size 8 prior to having kids now I vary (depending on where I shop) between a 10 up to a 14! My body shape has completely changed and I found it very difficult when picking clothes because I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise the person looking back, I felt as though I’d completely lost my identity I was just ‘Mum’ and I wore ill-fitting jeans and a very baggy top to cover my tummy, which looking back made me look so much bigger than I actually was. It didn’t help that I felt I wasn’t being represented by the high street, the clothes from the main stream stores didn’t feel like they were made for me, my shape or even height,

I’m 5’3 and I was looking at clothes made for 6ft size 4 super models. I mean even just 7 years ago, there was no ‘body positivity’ movement. Everyone was trying to be a size ‘zero’ and society wasn’t accepting of ‘curvy’ women at this time. I felt the pressure of needing to bounce back, but didn’t and I haven’t, but, you know what, I’ve finally started to feel good in clothes again and accept my body. This isn’t because I’ve lost loads of weight it’s because I’ve found ‘My Style’ in vintage clothing. The cut and styles of these dresses and skirts are quite literally magical.

The first time I popped on a vintage dress I felt completely different and held my head a little higher. They really do fit women in all the right places. The way they nip in at the waist really gives the illusion of having a neat little waist, even if you don’t have one (which I don’t really). It also hides my tum so it means I feel really comfortable and confident, as I’m not worrying about pulling my jeans up and my top down.

So now vintage dresses and skirts are part of my daily life, I love wearing vintage styles because for one I am literally obsessed with history and I adore the 40s, the women always look effortlessly glamorous and pristine and who wouldn’t want to look like that. I also have hang ups about my arms. I feel they are too big and butch, which was an issue for me initially with vintage styles as lots of the dresses are sleeveless.

However I must say when I put my first ever vintage dress on it somehow didn’t bother me because I looked in that big old mirror again but this time I saw ‘me’ and I looked ‘ok’. I didn’t see the mum tum and I didn’t notice my arms, I just felt good. Which was a new feeling, I actually starting to enjoy clothes again. The main thing about vintage style clothing and, it’s my favourite reason why I love it so much, is that you don’t need big or small boobs, a teeny waist, to be curvy or to be a certain height to wear them you just need to have a BODY. If you have one of these, then these dresses are for you. Literally, anybody can wear vintage styles. They are so flattering for any size, shape and height. If you add a petticoat too, well that’s just a different feeling all together, it’s amazing what a petticoat can do for your soul.

So when the competition for Polka Dots and Petticoats opened I went straight in for it. Not because I felt beautiful or amazing about myself, I felt the complete opposite and that’s why I did it. I wanted to do something big for myself. I wanted to overcome my own self-loathing and be ‘Kelly’ not the ‘Mrs or Mum’ as much as I love being both and I adore my family, this is was just something I needed to do for me to help accept myself, so I took the chance and applied and I was lucky enough to have been picked with the other 6 fabulous ladies.

This experience has given me so much more than a confidence boost. None of us had ever met before in person, we chatted online but that is it. On the day, it was phenomenal because we all just clicked and we all had insecurities about our bodies but what we each saw as a negative the other girls saw as a positive and it made you think,’ actually I’m that bad after all’. These women are by far the strongest, kindest and most positive group of people I have ever met. That includes Jackie, Cheryl, Jo and Verity.

As if I didn’t already feel amazing in these beautiful dresses and petticoats these girls just built me up and made me see myself in a different light. It started out as a bit of fun and turned out to be one of the most empowering experiences I have ever had.

Every single one of us are completely different in every way, looks and style but on the day we all got in those dresses and made them our own, which is yet another great advantage of vintage dresses. No matter what your style you can put one on and make it your own and dress it up, down, with a petticoat or not and add belts. It’s one of the most versatile styles there is. It was a fantastic experience and I’d urge anyone to give it ago given the opportunity. As soon as you put the dress on, you start to hold your head a little higher.

So ladies, stop body bashing yourselves because you’re all incredible, pop on one of these frocks and just rock It because maybe you don’t look like the ladies in the magazines, but if you’re like me, you’re too busy for the gym and like a little drink and chocolate too much"

Kelly